Research

Hispanic women entrepreneur looking at a portable computer screen.

This study examines the main push and pull factors driving Hispanic self-employment in the USA by modeling the self-employment decision as a function of sectoral earnings differences, country of origin, and other factors. Findings indicate that a main reason His- panics engage in self-employment is they can earn more working for themselves than in wage/salary work. Im- migrants appear to be pushed into self-employment as a result of limited opportunities in the wage work sector. Although low relative earnings in wage/salary work could push workers with limited English proficiency into self-employment, our findings indicate barriers to this. Results suggest that workers pulled into self- employment are those with more work experience and a college degree. Workers who originate from Southern South America and Colombia have relatively high self- employment rates, while Mexico-origin workers have relatively low self-employment rates. We also uncover differences across Hispanic origin groups in terms of the influence of gender, education, and personal wealth on self-employment participation.

Fisher, M. & Lewin, P.A. Push and pull factors and Hispanic self-employment in the USA.Small Bus Econ 51, 1055–1070 (2018)

Hispanic woman cooking

We consider the economic development potential of recent dramatic growth in Latina business ownership. Regression modeling with American Community Survey data reveals (a) compared with salaried workers, the entrepreneurial (incorpo- rated business) and other self-employed (unincorporated busi- ness) have, respectively, higher and lower rates of English proficiency, college completion, and homeownership; (b) the median Latina entrepreneur earns more than the median unin- corporated self-employed but less than a comparable salaried worker; and (c) type of work matters less to Latina’s earnings than having a college degree and working full-time. Working Latinas can benefit from educational opportunities, family- friendly work arrangements, and business incorporation.

Fisher, M. & Lewin, P.A. (2020) Profitable entrepreneurship or marginal self-employment? The bimodality of Latina self-employment in the United States, Journal of Small Business Management.

People wearing face masks walking on a busy street

The COVID-19 pandemic that began in the United States in March of 2020 had a profound ad- verse effect on the economy. In particular, the pandemic had a harsh impact on women, minori- ties, and self-employed individuals. However, research on why the pandemic hit some groups harder is in its nascent stages. We contribute to the growing body of knowledge by comparatively analyzing the inability to work due to the pandemic in the wage and self-employment sectors. We utilize data from the Current Population Survey from May 2020 to May 2021 to investigate the effect of individual, business, and geographic characteristics on the probability of work interrup- tion in each sector. We find that self-employers were much harder hit but fared better than wage workers in several of the harder-hit sectors and when they had incorporated businesses. We also find that women, non-Whites, and Hispanics were more adversely affected in both sectors.

Mindes, C.H, & Lewin, P.A. (2021) Self-employment through the COVID-19 pandemic: An analysis of linked monthly CPS data. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 16.


Multigenarion family on the front door

Hispanics are important contributors to the self-employment sector. Their entrepreneurial activity varies by immigration status and ethnonational subgroup. We comparatively examine the self-employment of Hispanics who immigrated as adults, those who immigrated as children, and non-immigrants of four groups in the United States: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Southern South Americans. We investigate intergenerational assimilation through self-employment into the three trajectories posited by segmented assimilation theory. We estimate regression models using a sample from the American Community Survey of Hispanics (n = 585,279) and US-born non-Hispanic Whites (n = 2,848,456). In a subsequent exploratory analysis, we estimate models for Hispanic origin and immigrant status groups to compare key predictors. We find that self-employment probabilities indicate distinct assimilation patterns for our origin groups. The exploratory analysis reveals different effects of important characteristics across groups. This work highlights the need for policies tailored toward the heterogeneity in Hispanics’ assimilation processes.